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Germany 3, Japan 2

July 21, 1996

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Heidi Mohr’s persistent attacking finally paid off with a goal in the 62nd minute as Germany beat Japan 3-2 Sunday in the first women’s soccer game in Olympic history.

An estimated crowd of about 30,000 was at Legion Field for the historic game. Though much smaller than the 83,000-plus that watched the United States play Argentina the previous night, the size of the crowd amazed many of the players. The German women looked into the gray bleachers with awe as they entered the field.

Afterward, the Germans embraced, waving and bowing to the crowd, which cheered warmly. Olympic soccer, the oldest team sport in the games, finally included women players.

The first women’s goal was scored by Bettina Wiegmann in the fifth minute. The Germans constantly pressured Japan, but needed an own goal to secure the victory.

With the game tied 1-1 in the 29th minute, Mohr rushed down the right sideline and struck a sharp centering pass that bounced off Japanese defender Yumi Tomei’s chest, ricocheted off the crossbar, back off Tomei and into the net for a 2-1 German lead.

But Japan, kept out of the German end for much of the first half, made the best of its chances. Akemi Noda received Futabi Kioka’s corner kick and booted it into the net in the 33rd minute to tie it 2-2.

The Japanese pressured early in the second half, but came up empty. Ten minutes into the half, Germany unleashed a barrage of shots that finally resulted in Mohr’s go-ahead goal.

With Japanese goalkeeper Junko Ozawa sliding all over the goalmouth to defend shots, Mohr broke through in the 62nd minute. Mohr pushed the ball to the brink of the penalty area and found the upper right corner of the net for the decisive score.

Asako Takakura also scored for Japan.

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